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Meeting transit needs of the underserved is a social justice issue

Far too many neighborhoods in Boston and across Massachusetts are poorly served by public transportation, with Mattapan a prime example, illustrated by compelling stories about what it means to have inadequate transit (“Underserved in transit, Mattapan wants a lift”).

We can solve this problem, but the challenges in getting in and out of Mattapan, Dudley Square, Hyde Park — and Lynn, Taunton, and Pittsfield, for that matter — require more than just fixing what we have today. We need a comprehensive strategy for expanding, and funding, the public transportation network the people of Massachusetts need. GoBoston 2030 and other regional and statewide plans show that people everywhere are frustrated and want more choices.

An expanded public transportation network is essential to a strong economy. It’s critical to reducing transportation’s effects on the climate. And it’s a fundamental matter of social justice for people who have been shut out of opportunity. If we only fix the transportation system we have today, communities that historically have been underserved will continue to be poorly served. That’s not fair.


Isolated islands or connected communities — that’s the choice.

Hakim Cunningham, Chelsea

The writer is the social justice policy coordinator for the Transportation for Massachusetts coalition.